Alabama authorities say a home burglary suspect has died after police used a stun gun on the man.  Birmingham police say he resisted officers who found him in a house wrapped in what looked like material from the air conditioner duct work.  The Lewisburg Road homeowner called police Tuesday about glass breaking and someone yelling and growling in his basement.  Police reportedly entered the dwelling and used a stun gun several times on a white suspect before handcuffing him.  Investigators say the man was "extremely irritated" throughout and didn't obey verbal commands.

Montgomery Education Foundation's Brain Forest Summer Learning Academy was spotlighted Wednesday at Carver High School.  The academic-enrichment program is for rising 4th, 5th, and 6th graders in the Montgomery Public School system.  Community Program Director Dillion Nettles, says the program aims to prevent learning loss during summer months.  To find out how your child can participate in next summer's program visit

A police officer is free on bond after being arrested following a rash of road-sign thefts in southeast Alabama.  Brantley Police Chief Titus Averett says officer Jeremy Ray Walker of Glenwood is on paid leave following his arrest in Pike County.  The 30-year-old Walker is charged with receiving stolen property.  Lt. Troy Johnson of the Pike County Sheriff's Office says an investigation began after someone reported that Walker was selling road signs from Crenshaw County.  Investigators contacted the county engineer and learned signs had been reported stolen from several roads.

NPR Politics presents the Lunchbox List: our favorite campaign news and stories curated from NPR and around the Web in digestible bites (100 words or less!). Look for it every weekday afternoon from now until the conventions.

Convention Countdown

The Republican National Convention is in 4 days in Cleveland.

The Democratic National Convention is in 11 days in Philadelphia.

NASA has released the first picture of Jupiter taken since the Juno spacecraft went into orbit around the planet on July 4.

The picture was taken on July 10. Juno was 2.7 million miles from Jupiter at the time. The color image shows some of the atmospheric features of the planet, including the giant red spot. You can also see three of Jupiter's moons in the picture: Io, Europa and Ganymede.

The Senate is set to approve a bill intended to change the way police and health care workers treat people struggling with opioid addictions.

My husband and I once took great pleasure in preparing meals from scratch. We made pizza dough and sauce. We baked bread. We churned ice cream.

Then we became parents.

Now there are some weeks when pre-chopped vegetables and a rotisserie chicken are the only things between us and five nights of Chipotle.

Parents are busy. For some of us, figuring out how to get dinner on the table is a daily struggle. So I reached out to food experts, parents and nutritionists for help. Here is some of their (and my) best advice for making weeknight meals happen.

"O Canada," the national anthem of our neighbors up north, comes in two official versions — English and French. They share a melody, but differ in meaning.

Let the record show: neither version of those lyrics contains the phrase "all lives matter."

But at the 2016 All-Star Game, the song got an unexpected edit.

At Petco Park in San Diego, one member of the Canadian singing group The Tenors — by himself, according to the other members of the group — revised the anthem.

School's out, and a lot of parents are getting through the long summer days with extra helpings of digital devices.

How should we feel about that?

Police in Baton Rouge say they have arrested three people who stole guns with the goal of killing police officers. They are still looking for a fourth suspect in the alleged plot, NPR's Greg Allen reports.

"Police say the thefts were at a Baton Rouge pawn shop early Saturday morning," Greg says. "One person was arrested at the scene. Since then, two others have been arrested and six of the eight stolen handguns have been recovered. Police are still looking for one other man."

A 13-year-old boy is among those arrested, Greg says.


Algae As Car Fuel: Possible, But Not Sustainable?

Oct 25, 2012



Let's take a look at alternative energy now. There's growing interest and investment in the process of extracting oil from algae and turning it into fuel for vehicles and airplanes. It requires a lot of water, nutrients and land. And a new report from the National Research Council says that will make it challenging to turn algae into a sustainable source of energy.

NPR's Richard Harris reports.

RICHARD HARRIS, BYLINE: The U.S. Department of Energy has been funding research on algae-based fuels on and off since the late 1970s. And a budding industry is now starting to grow large quantities of algae in sunny, open ponds to make biofuel. So the DOE recently turned to the National Academy of Sciences Research Council to ask whether algae could be a sustainable energy source if it goes big-time.

Jennie Hunter-Cevera chaired the committee that took on that task. She says simply defining sustainable in this context is a challenge.

JENNIE HUNTER-CEVERA: You can look at the amount of energy going into it. You can look at the water needed, the nutrients - CO2, phosphorous, nitrate - as well as other things that could impact the environment.

MARK JONES: And what we came back and said was, yes, there are challenges.

HARRIS: Mark Jones from Dow Chemical served on the panel.

JONES: We are not currently line of sight to a solution with algal biofuels. But there is nothing that is insurmountable in the challenges that exist.

HARRIS: Jones says, for example, the committee asked how much energy it takes to make these fuels. Obviously you don't want to consume more energy than you're going to get back in the form of fuel.

JONES: You have a fair bit of energy that is required to actually just cultivate the algae to keep them suspended and moving in the water. You have a fair bit of energy in removing the algae from the water itself in that collection. And then you have the processing energy of breaking the algae open to get the oils out.

HARRIS: And it takes a bit more energy to turn the oils into fuel. And then there's land. An acre of algae ponds would produce enough fuel to supply maybe 10 cars.

JONES: When you map that out and start talking about making a refinery's worth of fuel, you have huge tracks of land that would be devoted to algae. This is not something that everybody is going to grow algae in their backyard and be able to fill their fuel needs.

HARRIS: A big challenge.

Tim Zenk, at Sapphire Energy in San Diego, says his algae energy company, and in fact the whole industry has been thinking hard about ways to avoid these pitfalls. His company is building a big facility out in New Mexico, using groundwater that's too salty for agriculture.

TIM ZENK: The land that we are using by design is land that has been out of agricultural production for 40 years because of salt water groundwater intrusion. So for the last 40 years the farmer that owned the land hasn't had the ability to actually farm those acres.

HARRIS: And his company thinks carefully about how much energy it uses. But these are early days, with companies like Sapphire Energy finding ideal settings, like this abandoned farmland in New Mexico. The real challenges would come if the industry multiplied a thousand-fold to produce a significant share of our liquid fuels. Zenk says that's decades down the road.

ZENK: We can only hope to be such a successful company that we are - produce a billion gallons into the renewable fuel pool.

HARRIS: The academy committee's chair, Jennie Hunter-Cevera, says the challenges are big but not overwhelming.

HUNTER-CEVERA: If you look where they started to where they are today, it's pretty impressive in what they have achieved. I think this industry has a lot of potential.

HARRIS: But Hunter-Cevera says this is a good time to pause and ask a question that isn't asked often enough, and that is: Will this new industry actually live up to its promise of making the world a better place as it displaces fossil fuels?

Richard Harris, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.